Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food

281 Emma Chow and Koen van Seijen - Lesson learned from the Regen Mind series

February 02, 2024 Koen van Seijen
Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food
281 Emma Chow and Koen van Seijen - Lesson learned from the Regen Mind series
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is the wrap-up of the Regen Mind series, where Emma shares more about her motivation for this series, her lessons learned, the themes that emerged, and of course, her surprises like like how quickly the conversations evolved from mind/mindset to consciousness. Find out why the mind is like soil and how we can adopt a systems-thinking lens, which is imperative for system change.
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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Wrap Up of the Regen Minds series, where Emma joins us one more time to share about her motivation for this series, her lessons learned, the themes that emerged and, of course, her surprises.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, Koon. It's great to be back, and this time in the hosting scene. Through six rich conversations with a range of guests, we're exploring the role of the mind. What mindset enables people to serve as regenerative leaders for a radically better food system? What are the common threads across these conversations? Well, we're about to find out. We're looking at regeneration from the inside out. This series is supported by our friends at Stray, who are exploring systemic investing with awe and wonder, as well as our friends at Mustard Seed Trust, who are enabling a transition to a care economy that fosters regenerative food systems. Thanks so much for tuning in. We hope the conversations crack the door open for you and invite you to explore new ways of thinking and embodiment towards a regenerative tomorrow.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to a very special episode. I say that often, but in this case it's absolutely true. It's a wrap up of the Region Mind series and we have Emma Chau here with us and has been absolutely rocking it with six episodes. I mean we were discussing this previously. We could do another 20. So if you feel cold to help us make those, definitely reach out. But we've scratched the surface on the Region Mind and I'm very happy to have Emma here to share the journey and to share what we've seen, learned, surprises and all of that. So welcome, welcome back, emma, and welcome back in the sort of host slash interviewee seed instead of the host seed only, which you've done for the last six episodes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. I was about to say it feels like a bit of a relief to be not fully but almost in the in the guest seat and, as you're saying, before we hit record. It's almost a year ago that the concept and idea for this, really the seed was sown for the series, and it's wild, I think, that now it's all launched and this is our reflection episode and there's been so much to unpack and I'm sure we'll explore lots of it today, so happy to be here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. I think a year ago we we had an open invitation with you. You joined us for the 200th episode of the podcast, where we also did a sort of dual interview. I interviewed you and you interviewed me about the journey until now and I think after that we said, okay, if you want to do anything on the podcast, feel free. And then you came back and said I really want to do a series on the region mind. And then we found some supporters and shout out to mustard seed and stray for making this, this, possible. And then the journey journey started like I think, just after summer even in summer I think you started your first, first episode. So how was that switch from interviewee to host first of all, like apart from the technical things, but how was that like switching the seats? How did that feel?

Speaker 2:

It was easier than I expected. To be honest, I think maybe I was intimidated of a podcast format, which I'd never hosted before, but thankfully I've had enough experience in the panel hosting seat and I do lots of research interviews, which is how I treated this. It's like when it's not live, it almost feels and it was a research project to like. We're genuinely exploring. What do people characterize the region of mind as and, all the way through a synthesizing that. So it was incredibly diverse to and really cool to look back and start to reflect on what were the patterns that were emerging and the surprising pieces and commonalities and and just unexpected things that came along.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's funny because we sort of treat the podcast as well public research. Of course it's not live, but we always hardly any like at some point. We never really edit, so it's always the full interview, except for a few hours and an internet connection that goes down, and so it's really, yeah, a research calls. It seems one on one, but then there are 3000 people listening to it at some point, which you should probably not remind yourself too much about, but it is yeah, it's a, it's a research call that happens to be recorded. I think those are the best podcast formats in general. And so when you came to us or came back to us, when we with this, this project, what was the motivation or what was your, your, your, what was the reason? You said yes, or you came with with an idea to the podcast, like I would like to host a series, and what? What triggered that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because there's a couple months in the gap between you giving that invitation of hey, if you have an idea, you're welcome to come play host. And I sat with that, felt like I was trying to force something or think I don't actually have an idea, I'm just going to let it sit. I didn't think about it in an active way and it feels fitting. I'm only realizing this now. It was like a weekend that I made a retreat for myself and I was like, okay, 24 hours completely offline, just like journal ID, meditate, do some movement. And it was somewhere. I can't remember the exact moment. It was somewhere there that, literally just in meditation, when my thinking mind had gone away, I just had this idea that came through and very fitting for a series.

Speaker 2:

Very fitting right and I and I googled and I was just like looking at which I have mine, which I mindset and they're just the little bits but there's nothing explicit. And I knew, listening to the podcast and being fortunate to be a guest as well, it's like mindset is threaded through all of it but hadn't been raised up as explicit. So that was one of the big things to A, just to get can we get a critical mass within the food system, especially decision makers and those who are highly influential, to even acknowledge that the mind and the mindset plays a significant role? Then B, if it does, what are the qualities of those that we can say have a regenerative mind are already embodying that and our practitioners in food system and regenerative movement. Let's see what services and see if we can characterize it.

Speaker 1:

So what surfaced? What were the main? Of course we're going to summarize a bit. I hope you all listen to the six episodes, if you haven't, scroll back and find them. But what were the main? Synthesis from the different episodes? Super diverse continents, countries, approaches, products, land or not. I mean, it was a wide range, and so I imagine it might be tricky to synthesize it at all. But if you had to, what would be a few nuggets, a few threats?

Speaker 2:

you've seen Well, when I was reflecting on this myself, this scene or analogy came through, which is the mind is coming back to soil, of course, the mind is the soil and the quality of that soil is determining what the outputs, what you're going to produce, what plants, how the plants can flourish. And storytelling came up and it's like stories of the compost that come and nourish and replenish the soil and allow those plants to grow, allow your garden to flourish. And in order to do that we need to, and all of we are part of nature. That was a big piece is we're not separate from, we're not above, we can't fix nature and control it.

Speaker 2:

A wardrobe mindset is knowing that we are part of nature, and this piece of interconnectivity came up in basically every conversation and some people I love these again coming back to soil like thinking about the Mycelian networks and when we're carrying a wardrobe mindset and embodying that, we can't help but see and think about all of those different intricate pieces that we're connected to and what our impact is and how we can activate those networks. Another piece was going from scarcity of fear to abundance. That was another one that came up in quite a few conversations and then this piece about like movement.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, very specifically.

Speaker 2:

Kala Rose mentioned it a lot. She went. We were doubting about a tide.

Speaker 1:

Goes well there but I don't think we put it in. And yeah, yeah, there was a like we cannot, we couldn't be able to heal I think she's at a fresher butchering the court, if there wasn't was, it wasn't abundance and that.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, the extent to which we're extracting from nature today as a species. If there wasn't so much abundance in nature, we wouldn't be alive.

Speaker 1:

Which gives us, which gives a lot of food for thought, because we have seen to some extent maybe some people more or less the amount of extraction. We do Imagine the amount of abundance that there could be and there is to sustain it. Up till now. We're breaking, I mean, you see it everywhere, but it's still sort of like it's a miracle we're still alive.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, yeah, which can give us hope. I think that was the thing too. There is this realistic optimism and hope.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was not a doom and gloom, so that's for sure.

Speaker 2:

No, no, no, not at all, but still acknowledging the realities. Right, and it's easy to be discouraged, but there's such a solid foundation, I think, in their core, in their value system, which underpins the mindset and then dictates what their words and actions and intentions are going to be, and that keeps them centered amidst all the chaos and everything that can be doom and gloom and suck you into it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I find it fascinating, as we're in a phase now, I feel, in the regentic movement, that I mean you see farmers going through the transition and we do a farmers philosophy series and really, if you are on a journey, on a regentic journey, as a farmer, your mind has changed Like there's no way that can be in the achiever mind only, as Jill's like to say, Like there has to be quite a fundamental change. But as there's so many other people now coming into the space investors, entrepreneurs, people that are not necessarily running farms or are day to day dealing with trees, animals and sort of forced to change their mind, like there needs to be a discussion which is exactly. It is Like what kind of mindset is needed to be active in the regent of space? And as we're not forcing them to have that mindset because they're farming, like what should investors? Of course there are a lot of nature, but in their ivory tower, in their shiny offices, an airco, controlled, heated, etc. And what should entrepreneurs that are maybe a bit more distance from the land, Like, how can they start cultivating their regenerative mind? Like, what are places to, apart from listening, what are places to go to? What are places to start cultivating that because it's fundamental.

Speaker 1:

I think that's the underlying message as well from this series. We can't escape that. Like there's no way, the conventional tradition, whatever mind how do we want to call it? Like we're going to be successful in regeneration if we don't have a mindset shift.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it all starts there and that was mostly the hypothesis.

Speaker 1:

It starts there or comes over time, like if you hit a few walls, you start thinking and like I need to change my mind.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it can go in both directions and I'm sure you know some have that tipping point where they go, they hit a roadblock and then they choose a different direction, and others that was interesting hearing people's stories Like what provoked their own regenerative mindset shift, or was it something innate that they were born with? And many people spoke to specific events or a lot about nature, like looking at their childhood and looking back and saying, yeah, I grew up in nature and then they kind of came back full circle. Later on they might have gone off the path and worked in a different way, a more conventional way, and then something took them back.

Speaker 1:

And I remember one cast sharing about like it's not a linear journey, like here you go from extractive to maybe sustainable and then we want to go to regenerative, but there's a peak and we've done a. We opened Nexus together a few months ago and you've shown that slide as well. Like there's a big piece there, like a metamorphosis, or there's a phase change. Yeah, yeah, like, let's not underestimate that, like what I say what did you learn on that? Or what did you take away from from that piece?

Speaker 2:

I would say, and that's that piece of if people haven't listened is know what we're talking about. It's it's detailed in a great way by Giles Hutchins, who's behind that amazing diagram. I think was in the show notes of that episode and it's an. It can be a very intense period. It is unpredictable in terms of how long it can be like. For some people it can be overnight, you know, some event happens and it wakes them up and they think in a different way, they see the world in a different way, and for others it can be years and it can be this back and forth, almost like a regression, because you go back into the achiever, the default mindset, and then it's work, like it's practice to constantly, with discipline, come back to oh, what's the regenerative approach to seeing this?

Speaker 1:

And so other what were other themes we haven't discussed yet, but like themes that came up, that that you felt we get to the surprises later, but that came up and really came up strongly when you were looking back and before, before recording this, that really things that popped out, popped up for you.

Speaker 2:

Having increasingly greater capacity to hold and lean into complexity, which of course entail systems thinking, which is essential for system change, that we don't focus enough on the mind. I asked many of the guests do you think we focus on it? And just to make it really concrete and explicit, and they said no, it's often just cast over and push to the side and underplay. But actually this is of essential importance and often when I asked you know what are practices or what would you suggest listeners to do, it was offering an invitation to do very simple things, of going out into nature and doesn't need to be off to a forest hours away from the city where many listeners I'm sure live, but even connecting with a plant in your house or a tree and like watching it over time. That was something that just Cushing's offered as a practice.

Speaker 2:

Like go and visit it every day, can you do that for a year and you will see the intelligence of nature. Like you will see how everything's always changing and you'll also start to see the relationships and you'll see cycles of death and renewal. And that was a pattern that came up in many people's stories was somehow having to let go and let a part of them die an identity, a job, a way of viewing the world, to create space to allow something else in, and maybe it wasn't always allowing something new in. But the theme of remembering came up a few times too, which I think gives me some hope as well, because it's it's not something we have to go outside of ourselves to chase after, but actually it's about coming in and distilling the stuff we don't need anymore and remembering.

Speaker 1:

And what were big or small surprises you've noticed or seen like going through these six hours, let's say plus of content or audio of conversations what were your biggest surprises?

Speaker 2:

So I specifically chose language when we were crafting the description of this and all of it, to make it what I thought would be as accessible as possible. And mindset was language that, at least in my experience, seemed accessible enough, especially for those in corporate or more conventional streams. And I was surprised by how quickly many of the guests challenge the language of mindset and mind and they jumped to consciousness and they were saying it's not, it's not the brain, it's not like, yes, that plays a role, but actually what we need to do is to elevate our consciousness, and so I was surprised by how their level of consciousness and how quickly we would pivot or jump up in a way and relate, relate to that.

Speaker 1:

Did that make it less accessible, you think?

Speaker 2:

I was worried about it in moments.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I'm curious to hear from listeners because I know that there's people in all aspects of the journey and I, I guess there's a bit of fear in me, that consciousness, if, especially, you just drop into an episode and you hear that in a couple and you're like, oh, couple minutes and like, oh, what is this?

Speaker 2:

I don't understand it. So I think it's important when we have these discussions, especially when we're talking about because that was something that came up in all of the conversations was a lot of these learnings isn't coming through by reading or speaking about something, it's from firsthand experiences. So I think that's where podcasts and things like this can offer a great entry point. If it's done well and, as you know, I'm a big believer in the power of firsthand experiential learning and other surprises I think would just be I mean, this is a really good one the positive receptivity, because I mean, of course, this is the first time hosting a podcast of this nature, so I didn't know if people would be into it, if they'd be willing to dedicate their time to talk about something like the mind, and everyone was super enthusiastic, to the point that, as you mentioned in the beginning we have an overflow, a potential guess, which I think is a really great issue to have. It's not an issue at all.

Speaker 2:

Abundance. Yeah, and just even thank you to any listeners who've commented on posts and linked in or sent messages, because you never know when you're recording these behind the screen how it's going to land. And at that point I was quite nervous about things or where a conversation was headed and I think I was surprised by how positive and, I guess, valuable not like about just, oh, this is great. It's like, oh, I actually got something from this, and people have said they're going to use this as a start of a workshop or as a pre-exercise or something to prime people. So, yeah, I think that's just relating to our hope of creating some tangible impact in the world as a result.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely let us know listeners if we always like to hear or any feedback, constructive feedback, but also if this hasn't meant something to you, if something has changed, if whatever feedback, experiences, stories to share, please, please reach out and use these ways through the website or answer LinkedIn or send a message somewhere on any of the social media, because we always like to hear that.

Speaker 1:

In general, and from the podcast side, we're, of course, very happy that people are listening and it's a new voice, which was scary and, to put that on, not because I really like my own voice, but we've until now, only had me asking questions and being able to shift that and creates, honestly, opportunity and freedom and ways to think differently about this platform as well for us, which is really nice, but it was an experiment and I mean you all listeners have listened, which is great, and are still listening to the episode, which is amazing. So, definitely let us know what you thought, felt, what has something shifted? Were you on a long walk somewhere when you listen to this, or absolutely not, and it could also be the case. Always happy to hear where people are listening and what the content or the audio and the stories has done, and then for people that want to, or are you a better surprise? I'm sorry.

Speaker 2:

I just something just came to me is also suggest, with a topic of this nature, play around with re-listening to it in six or 12 months time, because when we're talking about the mind or consciousness, like a lot of the stuff maybe you've never heard Jalas Heston speaks about like the field, and I made him define what that means, because I'm sure for many people it's like what I know a grass field. But what do you mean? The field? And maybe that washes over you and that's not something that you're meant to receive. Right now that's not valuable to you, but maybe in your evolution, a year or two years time it might. You might want to experiment. I've done it before and I find like learn something new, like something sinks in and metabolizes in a different way and I click something later on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a very good tip, Like rereading a book or revisiting pieces. You will take something else out of it, probably in six months, a year, two years time. And what I found fascinating how many times guests mentioned science like the cutting edge brain. Science now says like constantly. That sentence came up again and again. Now it's set by science, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and which I think shows how much we don't know yet as well and how much we're looking like in actually functioning of the brain, or what is able to do the connection to the rest of the body, your gut, the connection to the rest of the world around you, et cetera, et cetera. I think it was mentioned quite a few times. Yeah, what we now know, we already knew it, but now it's confirmed in a peer reviewed paper, so now it's real, and so that was quite interesting.

Speaker 2:

Yes, there's ongoing credibility. Yes, yeah, and I think it. I liked how it was mentioned in a couple conversations. I know for sure, calarose. I'm just catching around the intuitive knowing and putting that on par with the scientific knowing, because our scientific studies can only scratch the surface on actually scientifically proving certain things that deep down we can know, or we do know, on an intuitive basis and I'm sure science only continue to catch up in that way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which I think there's a nice connection there to the soil, where I think many farmers feel and we've seen that with cutting edge scientists like Jonathan Lothan and others saying, yeah, the most cutting edge science is happening on farms now and we as scientists have to go there and catch up with that, because it's not happening in a lab, it's definitely not happening on farms of universities, it's happening at the edges of space. Which are these farmers that are doing things that we don't think can actually be done, but we're seeing it, so we have to research it instead of the other way around. And also here it feels like the science is trying to explain something that people already seen and explained, maybe in different languages or in different ways and different stories, for a long time in many cases, and I think that, again, that growing scientific basis of credibility, which many people do need to satisfy, the rational mind which is so overly activated at the moment?

Speaker 2:

right, so every person in a leadership position, at least that I've interacted with, their first question is like give me the numbers, give me the proof, and that I think for me to come forward and even develop this concept with you and bring it to the world. The Conscious Food Systems Alliance, backed by the UN, was a big, you know, was in our concept document and I'm so happy they could come to speak as well and speak a bit about the origins, because it's like to have an organization like the UN, which has to have science that leading on, which has to have credibility if they're going to create something that their name is behind, and for them to be doing the work that they're doing it and it's only in such early emergence stages to it just felt like the right time to bring this topic forward.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

In that interview I think they were also like a bit surprised the UN would be back, something like that, and then, at the same time, I think, all the organizations that are working on this in this area, we're very happy to finally have a place to sort of like okay, finally we can talk about consciousness and finally we can talk about that connection to food, land and everything, and so that felt perfect timing.

Speaker 1:

And then, yeah, this was, I mean, somehow with this podcast, we've been really good at timing, catching the, the regen wave in general and just catching it further and further, let's say, and it's only been growing. It still feels like we're absolutely at the beginning, even though it's very different than seven or 14 years ago when I started looking at it. It still feels very, very, very small when you, when you compare it to the big outside world. But we're, we're making progress, and so where should people go that want to learn more? We got the same question at at Nexus actually, where, where, where, where do you point people apart from the interview series but let's say that people have listened to that or or not into podcasts? Where should people go to to explore further, to, to dive deeper, to to fall down a rabbit hole or two.

Speaker 2:

Well, I would say for sure, double click on the guests in the episodes, because many of them, including Calla Rose, she has her own podcast which is very educational. Giles Hutchins has incredible resources that I'm constantly tapping into and they're endless. He's constantly writing. So I would start there, especially if you feel drawn like, follow your intuition, because there's so many directions you can go, and so just use that as a practice. You know it's like, don't follow the reason, just follow your gut and your intuition. If you like a guest, like, double click on their links, see if they've got resources, see who they resource, go to them.

Speaker 2:

And I think, from a like literature side of things, videos, learning content that's a great path. And at the same time, make sure you don't forget about the embodiment, because that's it's one thing to think something, to think in a regent way, it's one thing to speak in a regent way, read regenerative pieces, but it's another piece to behave in that way and to show up in that way, and that is often a gap, that is, I know I'm constantly practicing and stumbling around and falling and picking myself up again every, every day. So see what practice is and you can start really small. You can start really small, like just again what we come back to the achiever mindset and starting to notice what are your patterns that are more extractive of yourself, of your own energy, of nature and the resources that we're in relationship with the people around you. Like start to expand your understanding of what a regenerative mind and regenerative way of life existence is in your own life.

Speaker 2:

And then, if you're fortunate enough to work in a business that has some role in food and agriculture, like pick one project. How do you start to bring that kind of mindset to it? And I've found Carol Sandford's work quite helpful. Again, as a starting point on, like regenerative business, there's the regenerators cohort. That's actually I'm not sure when they're deadline to apply, but you can always look for future years and that's a year long journey with Laura Storm and that's all about regenerative leadership. And if you're really in the finance side of things, I think they bring in some of the embodiment to is the Capital Institutes, which I have economics course as well. Those are my initial thoughts. There's so many directions.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think the first sentence there you mentioned is fundamental Follow the thread that pulls most and just keep pulling and keep following it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, follow the energy, because there's so many angles and we all have a role to play and none of us can be everything. So it's like in this big system, this big web that we're part of, and weaving, what little piece that actually becomes a lot when we put it all together do we play and focus on? So, yeah, follow the energy and let go of the shoulds. If you have a tendency of like, I should do that, course, I should speak to that person, stop yourself, pause, take a breath, come out of scarcity, fight or flight mode. And so who do I actually want to engage with? What do I want to read? What is nourishing me and giving me more energy? That's taking.

Speaker 1:

I think that's a perfect way to wrap it up and thank everybody for coming on, first of all on the podcast as an interviewee and, of course, for everybody listening to this one and all the others, or if you listened only to two seconds of one of the episodes, I hope it meant something to you, I hope it helped you to move forward, to move deeper, to move backwards, whatever fitted at that time. And, of course, I want to thank you, emma, for hosting here with us and taking the hosting microphone and seat in our virtual studio Unfortunately no fancy studio yet, but it will come at some point but in our virtual studio to take the mic and be the first other voice on this podcast and doing that amazingly well. So thank you so much for doing that and coming here to share about the journey.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you for taking a risk. I'm sure it was scary. I was a little scared. I was like don't mess this up. So I'm glad, so far, so good. And yeah, I'm curious to keep hearing receiving people's thoughts, feedbacks, what clicked for them, what they still have questions about and who knows what's to emerge in the future on this topic. But I'm glad we could do this and for the support that we've had along the way.

Speaker 1:

So thank you. I've heard stories about maybe we should do a book and maybe some there. There are some ideas left and right. So let's see, this probably is not the end of this journey specifically, but for now we've done six episodes and a wrap up, and so we will wrap it up here and leave people to go on with their day. So thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end. For the show notes and links we discussed in this episode, check out our website Investing in regenderwegerkotjecom forward slash posts. If you liked this episode, why not share it with a friend or give us a rating on Apple Podcasts? That really helps. Thanks again and see you next time.

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